Lesson plan

What’s Similar? What’s Different?

How are plants’ traits affected by environmental factors? In this integrated science and reading lesson, students will use multiple sources to identify and determine how traits are influenced by the environment.
Need extra help for EL students? Try theSimilarities and DifferencesPre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try theSimilarities and DifferencesPre-lesson.

Students will be able to use two texts to compare and contrast important points on the same topic. Students will be able to determine ways that traits can be influenced by the environment.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
Comparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of WaterComparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of the SunHot or Cold? How Temperatures Affect PlantsFeeding Our PetsComparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of WaterComparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of the Sun
  • Ask students to sit in a circle or in a central area.
  • Show students the bag of objects without revealing what is inside.
  • Ask for two volunteers.
  • Ask each volunteer to put their hand in the bag and pull out an object without looking.
  • Lead the class in a brief discussion of how the objects are similar or different. To CompareIs to tell how two things are alike and to ContrastIs to tell how two things are different.
  • Tell students that they will be learning how to compare and contrast important details from two texts and that they will be learning more about how certain traits are influenced by the environment. Tell the students that a TraitIs a special characteristic of a living thing. To InfluenceA trait means that something has caused change.
(10 minutes)
  • Use the Comparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of Water worksheet to model the process of finding similarities and differences between the texts. If displaying the texts on an interactive whiteboard, use two different colors of pens or highlighters to identify similarities and differences in the text.
  • Demonstrate the process of comparing and contrasting the effects of water on plants using both texts.
(15 minutes)
  • Pose the question, “How does sunlight influence the growth of different plants?”
  • Distribute the Comparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of the Sun worksheet to each student, and assign them a text (Text #1 or Text #2) on which to focus.
  • Divide the students into groups of three or four students so that each group of students has the same text.
  • For each text, assign a different highlighter colour. (For example, Text 1 students might be given yellow highlighters. Text 2 students might be given green highlighters.)
  • Ask students to read the text together and discuss important details, marking the text with highlighter.
  • Rotate around the room to assist small groups as needed.
  • Tell students that it is time to mix it up and that they will be partnering up with a person who has a different text. Instruct students to discuss the similarities and differences in their texts.
  • Partnering Suggestion: Write corresponding numbers on the back of each "set" of texts. Have the students turn their paper over, locate the number, and find their partner with the matching number.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask students to complete the Hot or Cold? How Temperatures Affect Plants worksheet.

Enrichment:

  • Challenge students to consider the effects on animals rather than just plants. Challenge students to research animal survival in multiple environments and the effects of the environment on certain animal traits.
  • Challenge students to research how animals adapt in harsh environments (see suggested book list).

Support:

  • Ask students to complete the Feeding Our Pet worksheet, identifying differences and similarities in the texts.
  • Have students create an infographic, visual, or slideshow that represents the information that they learned.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to complete an exit card in which they compare or contrast themselves with a friend.
(5 minutes)
  • Lead students in a class discussion of the effects of the environment on certain traits in plants.
  • Lead the class in listing and developing “What if?” questions for further research in comparing and contrasting the effects of certain environmental factors on the traits of living things.

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